Published November 20, 2014
Miami Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson can start thinking about how special it will be the next time he takes the mound.
The Miami Marlins' ace will not only get to start opening day for the Marlins, it will be their first game in Miami's new $515 million stadium.
"I guess I've never experienced this before," Johnson said. "It'll be fun."
Johnson threw 5 2/3 innings in Friday night's 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.
He gave up a leadoff home run to Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and allowed three runs and six hits while walking one and striking out nine.
Most importantly, he hasn't had any trouble with the right shoulder discomfort that sidelined him after May 16 last season.
"I've been happy with the entire (spring)," he said. "I'm putting all the work in to make sure I'm recovering. I feel good out there. It's going according to plan so far."
Friday night was also big for two other Marlins. Outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (wrist/knee) and Logan Morrison (knee) returned to the lineup. Stanton, playing in his first game since March 11, went 0 for 2 with a walk.
"It was good to just be with the guys and feel good on the field for once," Stanton said.
Morrison went 1 for 3 with an RBI single.
"It felt great," the left fielder said. "I know it's spring training, but I was pretty excited, nervous ... ready to run through a wall like I tried to do on Desmond's home run. It was fun."
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has said he might give Morrison a day off here and there, especially early in the season, to rest his right knee.
Morrison said he wouldn't ask for a day off, but he would do what Guillen wanted. He was just happy to report there was no swelling, especially after playing in a minor league game on Thursday. He is expected to play Saturday against the Mets.
"It wasn't achy or stiff like it was (Thursday)," Morrison said of his knee. "That's good. I don't know if it's just a good day, or if it's getting that much better. I guess we'll find out tomorrow."
Morrison and Stanton are excited about the opportunity to open up their new stadium, too.
Johnson said it was a chance to start a new chapter in the history of the organization, which will also play its first season after changing its name to the Miami Marlins.
"I'll be pretty pumped up, but I always seem to be that way, no matter what the game is, no matter what the situation," Johnson said. "That first inning, I've just got to make sure I go with what (catcher John) Buck puts down."
While the Marlins had their potential opening day lineup Friday night, the Nationals sent left-hander Ross Detwiler to the mound to make his first spring training start.
Detwiler, who will serve as a long relief or spot starter for the Nationals, got the start so the team could give ace, Stephen Strasburg, an extra day of rest.
Detwiler said he couldn't help but think about what happened two years ago, when Strasburg was a late scratch from a game and Miguel Batista got the start.
"They announced Miggy's name and everybody booed," Detwiler said. "That was my thought when I was out there stretching. Nobody really booed me, so it's a good day."
Throwing a lot of strikes certainly helped. Detwiler retired the first six batters he faced and gave up just three hits and one run in five innings, while striking out five. Of the 69 pitches he threw, 50 were strikes.
"I was getting ahead of hitters. It kind of makes them play my game, instead of the other way around. I don't have to throw strikes late in the count when they know what's coming."
Outfielder Xavier Nady strengthened his case to make the Nationals' roster, hitting a bases-loaded RBI single off Johnson in the fourth inning.
Before the game, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said he's happy with the way the team has played this spring and that while the final cuts will be tough, he believes the players who will ultimately make up the team's final 25-man roster are already in camp.
Rizzo has also been monitoring the progress of 19-year-old sensation Bryce Harper, who is in the team's minor league camp and trying to learn how to play center field.
"He's bouncing really well out in center field," Rizzo said. "He's working tirelessly with (outfield coordinator) Tony Tarasco. If anybody can pull it off, he can."
Notes: Shortly after Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he was concerned about having outfielder Rick Ankiel (strained quad) available for opening day, the Nationals announced they have added the 32-year-old to their 40-man roster. ... Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will go with the team to Fort Myers, then up to Washington, D.C., where the medical staff will evaluate him and decide where he will continue to rehab from his strained left hamstring. Johnson feels it will take him at least 2-3 rehab starts before he can join the big league club. ... Closer Drew Storen (elbow) and outfielder Michael Morse (strained right lat) will also make the trip to D.C., though their status for opening day is also in doubt. ... Infielder Greg Dobbs (hamstring) is expected to play Saturday against the New York Mets.